At a public meeting in South East London last Thursday April 18 representatives from TFL and bus operators Abellio responded to complaints made by local residents about the 343 bus service- a key router service through Lewisham to Central London.
Residents said buses on the route, which runs between New Cross Gate and City Hall, are overcrowded, infrequent and slow.
Valerie Shawcross, London Assembly Member for Lambeth and Southwark urged TFL and Abellio to present a “to-do list” to the local residents gathered at the meeting.
“The population is growing particularly in London and very much in this area, but the bus service has remained static… and is bursting at the seams,” she said.
The terminus for the 343 is on Jerningham Road, a residential street opposite New Cross Gate station. One resident at the meeting said that it was an “inappropriate location for a bus stand and it should be moved”.
There were also complaints that the Southampton Way area of Peckham is served by no other bus, and residents in that area must make two separate journeys to get north of the river.
Harriet Harman, MP for Peckham and Camberwell, joked that she recognised most of the meeting’s attendees from seeing them waiting at the bus stop. She asked TFL and Abellio to solve the problems along the 343 route, saying that “they need to put on more buses so people are not treated like cattle or made late”.
Peter Bradley, Head of Consultation and Engagement at TFL, said that they had looked at diverting services from other areas, but that such an action may just move the problem elsewhere. He committed to a review of the situation, and said he would listen again to residents when he returned in the autumn.
There were also complaints about some of the drivers on the route. One resident appeared distressed when alleging that a driver had refused to call the police after she had been the victim of crime on a 343 bus.
Frank Ayeni, Network Performance Manager at Abellio, said that the company would be reviewing their customer services along the route.
In contrast to the mood of the meeting, when ELL asked the opinion of passengers waiting for 343 buses in New Cross the majority said they were positive about the service and drivers.